Getting Certified Vs. Life's Other Priorities

Well, it's been... a little over 4 months since I last posted. For a first post back in the saddle, I figured I could say a lot of things - maybe I'll end up there before I end this ramble - but it made me wonder how my own life and struggles for balancing time commitments would have been different if I was working towards important cert(s) or some other professional development goal.

First, for those of you who used to read my blog regularly, sorry for being gone so much the 2nd half of the year. Work's been... unmanageable until recently, real life was a lot busier than normal (but good busy), and then it seemed like a surprise ever other week. Please don't read this imagining a whiny voice - it's just been a blur. I even had to give up some other writing projects in addition to the blogging for a while. It makes me tired thinking back to it.

And yes, since it's been posted already, one of the many things that had me snowed under is my part of the work on a new router/switch Simulator from Cisco Press. My part's 90%+ done, but the software development team is still working. (They had the hard part of the work, for sure.) It's brand new code, and I like what I see. I'm getting permission about what I can/can't say, so I hope to blog a little more fully about it in an upcoming post.

OK, enough complaining - how to make this matter to any of you who happen to read this? Well, life happens, and almost no one can make studying for a cert test their #1 priority, at least for more than a few days. You gotta pay the bills, and relationships tend to suffer if you ignore them. But for those of you who have successfully pushed through a bust time, keeping your focus enough to study and pass a cert exam - what worked for you? Give me/us a tip or two.

Off the top of my head, things that have worked for me:

1) A written study plan so I don't flounder each time I start a study session

2) Keeping things to read in places where you have 5-10 minutes to read. ;-)

3) Setting short-term goals (like read 10 pages each day until finished through chapter X)

For those of you who have read my blog in the past, you know I like to do the occasional informal survey as well. In keeping with today's theme, I was wondering how many folks had gotten seriously sidetracked this year (like me) regarding their plans, only slightly sidetracked, etc. So, feel free to weigh in with this little survey as well.

From here, I hope to fall back into the same general kinds of things as back in months past. Feel free to post your suggestions. It's nice to be back!

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